LOS ANGELES — As a part of their mission to #RestoreLA, Pastor Matthew Barnett and the Los Angeles Dream Center have been focused on efforts that seek to sustain the community as Los Angeles get back on its feet. One of the ways they have sought to do this was by assisting individuals and families who are struggling with unemployment and food scarcity.
So on April 1st, they officially opened their Community Kitchen and Food Pantry to their communities – which became an overnight success. Even as the state of California is easing restrictions and getting ready to fully reopen, there is still a gap to fill as the aftershock of the pandemic has seen thousands of individuals and families in desperate need.
Since the Dream Center adapted its ministries two weeks ago and added more services to meet the needs of the community, they have seen many familiar faces from their drive-thru food line and their Restart Learning Center, and many new folks have stopped by as well. People have been lining up every day to experience a fun day of grocery shopping from the Food Pantry and a fresh meal prepared by the community kitchen. Even in their outreach efforts, they have been able to provide families with free groceries and clothing and deliver food to seniors through their Kidz Jam, Food Truck, and Adopt-A-Block services.
“There are many people in LA who are still living on unemployment, who have been evicted from their homes, who are on the brink of poverty and homelessness,” said Pastor Matthew Barnett, co-founder of the Dream Center. “This is just the reality of the pandemic.” However, Pastor Matthew says that “when we invest in the individuals and families by providing the food, education, and supplies they need, we hope to not only provide free resources but also to offer hope and encouragement that our community will have a bigger and better future.”
Along with the services mentioned above, the Dream Center is also very excited to see the impact of their new after-school program, Homework Help, which began this week. Since the Los Angeles school district confirmed schools will be physically reopening and allowing kids back for in-school learning, the Dream Center will be offering extra support to kids from families that still need a helping hand as they transition back to in-person learning. Not only will they provide tutors that will assist students with their homework, but they will also be encouraging kids to exercise other skills through physical activities or art projects. And once kids are done with their studies, they will be able to grab dinner at the community kitchen.
Just like their Restart Learning Center which was also intended to relieve working parents, through Homework Help, the Dream Center wants to provide an extra set of hands for families and give their children a safe space to learn, excel, and simply be cared for while they may still be working or running errands. To ensure the safety of all involved, the Dream Center will continue practicing all COVID protocols with temperature checks and social distancing.
About the Los Angeles Dream Center
The Los Angeles Dream Center is a faith-based non-profit organization located in Echo Park, dedicated to transforming lives and underserved communities in the city of Los Angeles. By offering residential and outreach programs to individuals, families and communities in the areas of homelessness, hunger, poverty, addiction, domestic violence, education, and human trafficking, the Dream Center is committed to enabling immediate and long-term transformation. The Dream Center welcomes those in need into our community completely free-of-charge with the resources, training, and support they need, regardless of faith, age, gender, orientation, nationality, or any other defining factor.